Science, Technology, and Society concentrators apply their work in a variety of ways — listed below are some resources that may be valuable to students and potential students.
Students interested in publishing their work can find a list of journals, magazines and other outlets here.
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John Carter Brown Collections | Potential Collections | On the Web
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Brown University users can click below for links to journal listings via Brown's library catalog system.
HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND RELATED COLLECTIONS AT THE JOHN HAY LIBRARY, BROWN UNIVERSITY:
The Library of Brown University has from its inception devoted much of its attention and resources to areas of scientific and mathematical study. Both were collected as early as the 18th century along with such auxiliary subjects as surveying, navigation and gunnery. Among the earliest gifts to the library was a collection that contained the 1714 Amsterdam edition of Newton's Principia. The early college library, which is displayed in the main reading room of the John Hay, contained 38 volumes in the sciences, half of them mathematical works. Growth continued throughout the 19th century both by gift, as with the Hunter and Drowne libraries, both containing many of their owners' medical books, and by library purchase in a wide range of fields, perhaps most notably in astronomy and mathematics. The 20th century saw major growth as academic research, scholarly book collecting, and scientific publication exponentially expanded, trends that continue today. The collections below give evidence of the Brown Library's response to these trends over the years. This response is perhaps best expressed symbolically by citing the three landmark books that commemorated significant Brown Library milestones. The 1,000,000th volume added to the collections was the 1662 Leyden edition of Descartes' De Homine Figuris; the renovation and restoration of the the John Hay Library was commemorated by the acquisition of Vidus Vidius' Chirurgia, published in Paris in 1544; and the library's 3,000,000th volume, which was indeed an entire collection of historically significant books, was the Dupee Fireworks Collection. Major holdings in the history of science, mathematics and related areas are briefly described below.
I. Medicine and Natural History:
BRAY COLLECTION The Bray Collection is a small (approximately 100 titles) but important collection of monuments in the field of medicine and natural history, from Vesalius to Darwin. The Bray Collection is supported by a restricted endowment, recently enhanced to almost $100,000.
ANNMARY BROWN MEMORIAL COLLECTION. The Annmary Brown Memorial Collection numbers some 900 books published through the year 1500. Covering a broad range of subjects, the collection contains important scientific works in astronomy/astrology, geography, medicine, mathematics and natural history, including important editions of seminal works by Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy, Dioscorides and Alliaco among many others. The Memorial's endowment currently provides approximately $8,000 per year to add to the collection.
REITMAN COLLECTION OF PHARMACOPOEIAS. The Reitman Collection is a representative collection of early pharmacopoeias including some of considerable rarity, such as the 1778 Lititz Pharmacopoeia, and books of drug standards such as the London Pharmacopeia of 1720 and the Massachusetts Pharmacopeia of 1808.
RHODE ISLAND MEDICAL SOCIETY LIBRARY. The state medical society gave its entire library to Brown in 1987 and 10,000 volumes of the total came to the John Hay. RIMS had a small but good collection of demonstrably rare books, from the 1642 edition of Vesalius to Boerhaave's Libellus de Materia Medica of 1719 and Haller's Elementa Phsiologiae, published between 1757 and 1766. More significant however, were the thousands of books dating from the 19th century which provide a remarkable cross-section of the medical profession from breakthrough treatments to women's medicine and midwifery to resurgent areas such as homeopathy.
SAKLAD COLLECTION OF ANESTHESIOLOGY. The Saklad Collection of some 300 volumes traces the development of anesthesiology from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th. Of special significance are publications relating to the discovery and surgical application of ether by William T. G. Morton and the controversy that ensued over its use in the mid-19th century.
II. History of Science:
LOWNES COLLECTION OF SIGNIFICANT BOOKS IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE and the BROWN UNIVERSITY HISTORY OF SCIENCE COLLECTION. As defined by its founder and donor, the Lownes Collection is made up of "books that have changed the world or man's way of seeing it." The collection of some 5,000 titles was bequeathed to Brown in 1979 and contains over 75% of those early texts regarded by scholars as "great books" in many scientific fields. With particular strengths in natural history, beginning chronologically with the 1476 edition of Aristotle's De Animalibus, the collection has great breadth and depth in both botany and zoology. The collection is even well-known to the lay public because of its holdings of Audubon, including a particularly fine copy of the double elephant folio Birds of America which is usually on display in the John Hay. Although the primary focus of Lownes is on natural history, astronomy, chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics are also well represented, from Regiomontanus through Sacrobosco, Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler and Galileo. Lownes built his collection over a 40-year period and attempted to complement books already in Brown's History of Science collections which had been accumulating for some 200 years. As an old academic library that supported a liberal curriculum, scientific works have been collected since the early days of the college. The result today is that in conjunction with Lownes, the History of Science Collections and the other collections included in this list, the holdings of the John Hay number in the tens of thousands. With the completion of the library's storage annex it is anticipated that many more rare scientific volumes currently in the Sciences Library will also fall within the purview of the John Hay.
OCCULT AND PSEUDO-SCIENCE COLLECTIONS. The John Hay houses several collections of occult and pseudo-scientific materials that parallel its more legitimately scientific holdings. Among these collections are the DAMON COLLECTION OF OCCULT AND VISIONARY LITERATURE that deals with alchemy, the interpretation of dreams, mysticism, black magic and the Kabbalah as well as chronicles of demonology, witchcraft, secret societies, theosophical orders and ancient mystery religions. The GRAHAM COLLECTION OF PSYCHIC SCIENCE consists of several hundred volumes concerned with paranormal phenomena from automatic writing to xenoglossy. The H. ADRIAN SMITH COLLECTION OF CONJURING AND MAGICANA vies with similar holdings at the Library of Congress in size and scope. While devoted primarily to performance magic, the Smith Collection contains important early works in the pseudo-sciences as well, from the 1647 edition of Hero of Alexandria's Gli Artificiosi Curiosi Moti Spiritali to Reginald Scot's 1565 Discoverie of Witchcraft and beyond. Supported by endowment, the Smith Collection adds substantially to its holdings on an annual basis.
SNELL COLLECTION OF MYCOLOGY. A collection numbering some 300 volumes, the Snell bequest includes most of the more important "mushroom books" published between 1640 and 1970.
EGYPTOLOGY. Brown's library has one of the nation's pre-eminent Egyptology collections, thanks to the close involvement of faculty over the years and to the income from the Wilbour endowment which has insured that essentially no significant title in the field, either antiquarian or contemporary, goes uncollected; the antiquarian books are in the John Hay.
III. Mathematics, Engineering and Technology:
AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY ARCHIVES. The AMS Archive is the historic and ongoing record of the primary member organization of American research mathematicians, which is headquartered in Providence and has long ties to Brown. The archive contains substantial material pertaining to the Society's growth and development and its extensive publication program as well as correspondence with a large number of research mathematicians.
CORTHELL LIBRARY. Corthell, also an engineer, donated over 7,000 books in the field of engineering to Brown, beginning in 1911. The rarer of the books are in the John Hay as are Corthell's drawings and papers (see Manuscript section below). The Corthell endowment today supports Brown's engineering collections in the Sciences Library.
DUPEE FIREWORKS COLLECTION. One of the John Hay's more recently acquired collections, the Dupee Fireworks Collection is probably the strongest of its kind in the U.S. Its core was formed over many years by Chris Philip, the British pyrotechnist and author of the standard reference work in the field. Purchased by an alumnus, the collection has expanded continuously since its arrival at Brown in 1997. Complementing other holdings in the History of Science and Anne S. K. Brown Military Collections, the Dupee Collection contains works by Furttenbach, de Malthe, Babington (the first English fireworks book), Cutbush (the first American fireworks book) Risho (the first printed Japanese fireworks book), and several editions of Biringuccio's Pirotechnia (though not the first edition, which is present in the Burndy Library). For more information, please visit the Dupee Collection online.
SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT COLLECTION. Over the years, the John Hay has received a number of scientific and medical instruments. Academic departments within the University have transferred a considerable number of physics and astronomical devices, several of which are on display in the Lownes Room. In recent years, the Rhode Island Medical Society has donated a considerable array of medical instruments and devices, mostly from the 19th century, and a former dean of Brown's medical school donated a large number of patent medicine bottles. Additional information on their donation here. Another recent gift included early eyeglasses and pharmaceutical bottles. Perhaps the University's most impressive scientific instrument is the Ladd Observatory, located to the north of the campus and recently restored to its pristine 1891 condition.
MATHEMATICS COLLECTIONS. Some years ago when the Research Libraries Group collections conspectus was developed, Brown's overall holdings in mathematics was deemed to be one of the three strongest in the country. This strength is attributable to consistently strong faculty involvement beginning in the late 19th century with Winslow Upton and continued by Raymond Clare Archibald, R.G.D. Richardson and many others in the 20th. David A. Jonah, University Librarian from 1949-1974, was also a mathematician and he devoted considerable attention and resources to the library's mathematical collections during his tenure. The emphasis on mathematics continues today with strong faculty use and collection development by, among others, Thomas Banchoff and Joan Richards. Brown boasts three distinct departments of mathematics of national standing (Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and History of Mathematics) and all make use of the library's holdings, both in the Sciences Library and the John Hay. For more information, please visit Brown's rare book holdings in mathematics online.
MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS. There are many manuscript or archival collections at the John Hay that are of interest to historians of science. Some are the papers of eminent Brown faculty and housed in University Archives while others are in the Manuscript Division or subsumed within a named subject collection. Examples are: Anne Fausto-Sterling Papers on Women in Science; Corthell Collection of archival material and drawings related to bridge building and harbor improvement; the Church archive of material related to railroad building in South America and to the Panama Canal; papers of the mathematicians Marshall Stone and R.G.D. Richardson; the archival drawings of mathematical puzzles developed by Royal Vale Heath; the Wyllys papers on early New England witchcraft; papers of the astronomer Winslow Upton; Biologist Herbert Walter; Engineer Carl Barus; George Corliss, mechanical engineer and manufacturer of the Corliss steam engine; English mathematician and astronomer James W. Glaisher; chemist Walter Hill; surgeon William Williams Keen; anatomist and surgeon Usher Parsons; mathematicians Augustus Smith and James Sylvester.
EXPLORATION, MAPS AND EARLY NATURAL HISTORY TEXTS AT THE JOHN CARTER BROWN LIBRARY, BROWN UNIVERSITY:
JOHN CARTER BROWN LIBRARY. Although separately administered, the JCB and the John Hay Library enjoy a cordial relationship. The JCB’s premier holdings in the field of colonial Americana contain a broad range of scientific materials from the Jesuit Relations, to exploration and the natural history of north and south America to maritime history. The active JCB fellowship program often makes use of material in the John Hay.
CHURCH COLLECTION OF BOOKS ON LATIN AMERICA. The Church Collection, numbering some 3,500 titles, extends the JCB Latin American holdings chronologically, country by country, into the national period. Broad in scope, the Church Collection contains many scientific works, particularly in exploration and natural history. One of its chief glories is the manuscript of Bartolome Arzans de Orsua’s Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosi, the history of the Bolivian silver mining town which for a time was the largest city in the new world. (Church’s archive of his career as an engineer is noted below under Manuscripts).
PROMISED OR POTENTIAL COLLECTIONS:
FLATLAND COLLECTION. Promised gift of Thomas Banchoff, the Flatland Collection consists of a remarkable collection of materials by and about Edwin Abbott Abbott and his classic novel, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, which tells the story of interactions with beings who live in a flat plane of two spatial dimensions. The collection contains essentially every edition of Flatland including recent editions in several dozen languages. Soon to become a digital project, Flatweb, which will feature digitized editions of the novel, as well as materials about its author and publication (coming Spring 2006).
Brown University Library: Resource Guide for Science and Society
ECHO: Exploring & collecting history online
"Cataloguing, annotating, and reviewing sites on the History of Science, Technology, & Medicine."
4S-The Society for the Social Studies of Science
The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) is a nonprofit, professional association. It was founded in 1975 and now has an international membership of over 1200. The main purpose of 4S is to bring together those interested in understanding science, technology, and medicine, including the way they develop and interact with their social contexts.
International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology
Scholars from various disciplines interested specifically in biology. Newsletter, listserv, links.
HSS: History of Science Society
"Founded in 1924 to foster interest in the history of science and its social and cultural relations." Guide to the profession, annual meeting info & publications.
SHOT: The Society for the History of Technology
Interdisciplinary organization formed in 1958 to "encourage the study of the development of technology and its relations with society and culture". Membership info, resources, newsletter & publications.
Worldwide Guide to Science Studies Programs
Search by geographic region or subject category.